Gopher Set for UCF Challenge
Feb. 7, 2014
The University of Minnesota women's golf program officially opens the spring season next week at the UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla. Central Florida hosts the three-day tournament at Eagle Creek Golf Club, starting on Sunday and running through Tuesday.
About the UCF Challenge
The 2014 UCF Challenge at Eagle Creek Golf Club gets underway at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday. The 6,349-yard course plays at a par 72 for the tournament. The field will feature some of the toughest competiton the Gophers have seen this season with nine teams posted in the latest national rankings by GolfWeek. Joining the Gophers and No. 23 UCF at the tournament are Campbell, No. 47 East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Florida International, Georgia State, No. 49 GRU Augusta, No. 19 Iowa State, Kennesaw State, No. 17 Kentucky, No. 37 Miami, New Mexico, No. 45 Southern Methodist, South Florida, Texas State, No. 30 Tulane, Western Carolina and No. 38 Wisconsin.
Same Tournament, New Course
The Gophers return to the UCF Challenge this season after a one-year absence from the event. In Michele Redman's first year with the program in 2011-12, the Gophers finished 18th at the UCF Challenge -- then held at the RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla. Banchalee Theinthong led the way for the Gophers in 52nd (82-69-75--226) while Carme Laguna tied for 58th (77-77-75--229). Sarinee Thitiratanakorn finished 93rd (75-79-87--241).
Last Time Out -- Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown
High winds shortened Minnesota's final fall tournament as the Gophers finished fifth at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown in late October. The Gophers posted a team score of 290-296--586 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown with Sunday's opening round 290 standing as the team's best round of the fall season and the program's best round in head coach Michele Redman's three-year tenure with the program (lowest round since a 287 at the MountainView Collegiate on March 25, 2011).
Banchalee Theinthong paced the Gophers in Las Vegas, shooting a pair of even-par 72s to tie for eighth (72-72--144, E). The finish was Theinthong's best of the fall schedule while her two 72 scores tied her best round of the season.
Newcomer Emie Peronnin tied for 20th for her best finish as a Gopher (72-75--147, +3) while Carmen Laguna finished one shot back in a tie for 26th (75-73--148, +4). Anna Laorr (77-76--153, +9) and Sarinee Thitiratanakorn (71-82--153, +9) tied for 58th. Thitiratankorn's opening 71 tied her career best round score.
Gophers Sign Three
During the break, the Gophers signed a trio of prep golfers to bolster the team's roster starting next season. Joining the Gophers are Celia Kuenster, Sabrine Garrison and Heather Ciskowski. Kuenster is a two-time Minnesota Class 3A individual state champion out of Cretin-Derham Hall who ranks 39th in this year's signing class according to the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). A native of Calgary, Alberta, Garrison was recently named to Team Canada's women's development squad after a successful 2013 season. Ciskowski, joining the Gophers from Barrington, Ill., comes to the University of Minnesota as the 46th-best prospect in this year's signing class according to the AJGA.
Looking Ahead -- Central District Invitational
Following the UCF Challenge in Orlando, the Gophers will travel to the Central District Invitational at Lakewood Ranch Cypress Course in Sarasota, Fla. on Feb. 17-18. Minnesota finished 10th at the event last season with Carmen Laguna pacing the team in a tie for 25th (76-77-75--228).